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"Londinium: An Introduction to My Flintloque Campaign"

A Flintloque Campaign Outline (ish) by Craig Andrews

londinium the rogues advent 12

An introduction to Orcs in the Webbe’s planned ongoing Flintloque campaign for 2019, Londinium. 

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Based on Bedlum

After a few mentions over the last decade in official sources (not to mention my constantly badgering Gavin at Alternative Armies) a couple of years ago I found myself in the cracking position of being asked to write a character driven expansion for Flintloque set in the Orc’s capital city of Londinium. It was to be called Bedlum and spun off from a great snippet Alternative Armies’ published many many moons ago.

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It is the Age of Black Powder and coal and of the Mordredian Wars, of Empyre building and exploitation, it is the Fourth Age of Valon. Capital city of Albion and commercial hub of the World, Londinium and its more than a million souls are crammed together in a space not more than a score of leagues across and wide. All things can be found in Londinium, peoples and creatures from every remotest place, treasures immeasurable and squalor obscene; spectacle and intrigue abound. The rich rub shoulders with the destitute, the pure with the rotten, the usual with the very strange indeed. It is in short a controlled, most of the time, framework of madness, a Bedlum.

Londinium is a place of illusion, where appearances hide reality, extravagance and brutality and corruption are part and parcel of life and death. The court of the King is rife with danger and elaborate costume does little to hide ruthless ambition. The ambassadors of all nations mixed with the court and the people alike, above reproach and pulling the ropes of their own machinations. Out in the ‘respectable’ newly paved streets in Caffe houses and theatres such as the one in Dreary Lane behind fans and pleasantries, hands pick pockets and blades slip between the ribs of the unsuspecting. The commoner sorts ply their trades in the darkness, darkness often not broken under the pallor of a thousand belching chimneys in the din of cries and curses that echo from the walls of grand houses and many storied stone buildings. Lower than these commoners that cling to what they have are the poor and wretched that have nothing but the blackened teeth and reek of those addicted to Layde Junipar and the ever-threatened hell of the Poorhouse.

It is in the rookeries and slums of condemned heaps of rubble that the rakes and rascals of the city ply their own trades, from robbery to murder, they even prey upon the respected though these with their pistols and swords are well capable of defending themselves. You could appeal to the authorities in the shape of the decrepit Watch or the hulking officers of the Bone Streete Rumblers, or even the Ogre ‘Peelers’ named for their habits for the gaining of confessions, though often politics guide their hands. The Mob is King in Bedlum and often a riot will begin over the most trivial of matters, turning a peaceful road filled with strolling Orcs and rumbling coaches, into a fury of flying glass and mud, the crack of shots and the rasp of metal being drawn from a scabbard or sleeve. In these actions all must choose a side, though obviously the law will not assist the brigands you will find some very bizarre groups being formed from all manner of people that form rank and battle others to survive the carnage of ‘Kyng Mobb’.

The Law of the Cobbles guides players of Bedlum, every moment can change a fortune and there is rarely time to reload a musket when a Pub explodes into a flurry of smashing wood as a lost Goblin spills his heavy tankard over the massive head of a Trolka. Again you will not be able to do more than use your pistol as a club once it is discharged in Mrs Migorcs Pieshop when street urchins reach for rhubarb they have no intention of paying for and the passing Ferach ladies object to them hiding under their skirts. There may be few heroes of the Army or massed batteries of cannon in Londinium but reputations and riches await those that survive the ever constant threat of urban skirmish in any of a thousand locations or foes. From enjoying the Albion Museum and a duel on Tyeburn Heath to being stocked in The Carnivale by those Orcs that, wrapped and strapped in straight jackets, have climbed the wall and escaped from St Mariorc Of Barfleham Hospital or as it better known... Bedlum.

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And with that frankly wonderful introduction I was given relatively free reign to submit a draft. It was fuzzily set around the end/just after the Mordredian Wars that had been covered in the main Flintloque rulebooks and had to be designed to use the current miniatures available from AA along with a small (but growing) series of non-combat larger than life characters. I had a few ideas for the project too that were quite innovative at the time (though we have seen all of them in games, boardgames and wargames supplements since). I’d had the idea of publishing regular character packs with a miniature (available painted or unpainted), a scenario that slotted into the frankly rather clever campaign system along with a few new rules and tokens to keep the game ticking along between ‘major’ story arc boxed releases (the closest example of this in the market is Star Wars: Imperial Assault). For a time things were looking good and it was the first time I’d been really engaged with Flintloque and its awesome background for quite a while. Initial drafts were written and the rulebook was even blocked out into how many pages for each section. Then, as you may have gathered, the project sadly did not go ahead for a variety of reasons and all the work I did has sat, somewhat rejected in a folder on my computer for a number of years.

Well, I’ve decided it’s time to change that, my Flintloque collection has gathered dust in dark boxes for too damned long. Londinium is my, and by extension Orcs in the Webbe’s, attempt to get some life back into the game for me personally and if I can take any of you along for the ride all the better. Bedlum may one day come to pass but it’s unlikely at this stage that I’ll be involved (still available though Gavin, just in case ;) ).

A few bits of my planned campaign have already trickled through into Orcs in the Webbe under different guises since then. Back in 2014 one of the ‘recurring’ scenarios from the Core book appeared, with the addition of the titular whip wielding archaeologist, as Gobliana Joonz and the Notable Dig. That scenario even had the planned Factions from Bedlum referenced as ways to expand your scenario (see below for more on the Factions).

Back in 2015 Orcs in the Webbe touched upon the subject matter of Londinium and Bedlum again in Matthew Hartley’s “Escape from Haydes” card game, the idea of which was very well received. So wanting to re-energise my long term love of Flintloque I’ve decided to run what I was planning for Bedlum as a fan based campaign on Orcs in the Webbe under the banner, Londinium. Three years later I’ve finally gotten around to it :)

Sources and Inspiration

Bedlum started off firmly based on a Georgian version of London, not the more commonly thought of Victorian version. Doesn’t sound like much of a change but there were huge differences in how people thought and behaved in these two eras. Lisa Picard’s excellent book, Dr Johnson’s London, gave me many ideas. It’s a cracking read, written almost as a guidebook as the author strolls through Georgian London - you could pretty much use it as a sourcebook for a roleplaying game as is.

The main ‘in character’ sources I used for Londinium were snippets from various publications from Alternative Armies, most notably (no pun intended) their short lived but excellent Notables Newspaper which was chock full of references and mentions about Londinium and Albion. There were also many references over the years in the official web-published Journals of Valon which touched upon the Orcs homeland.

Various other sources couldn’t be ignored when creating a framework set in a fantasy Georgian-esque city - these included in no small part Richard Curtis’ and Ben Elton’s Blackadder III, Terry Pratchett’s Ankh-Morpork, Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (and in turn the many original sources it is based on). As the idea grew quite a lot of Victoriana did creep in through things such as Conan Doyle’s Challenger and Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dicken’s Oliver to name but a few. As soon as you open your mind to how you see the city it is so easy to slot in bits that seem to fit.

Faction Based

Taking more than a few notes from games like Mordheim (the grandfather of games of this type) I thought factions would be the way to go, giving a framework for peoples miniatures to fit within. I had a think about what we’d already seen in the snippets from Valon and also what was working in the other miniature skirmish games and decided to have a core of three different factions in the first boxed set.

I wanted people to have the freedom to create their own versions of each of the factions, not just be limited to what was initially published but also release boxed factions you pick up to ‘jump right in’.

My original pitch document had the chapter on Factions summarised as follows:

The Factions - An overview of the three types of faction found in Bedlum - The Rogues, The Law, The Club. There will be a fully detailed example of each along with background, current history, HQ details and the main characters. The three examples form the 'out of the box' factions that are tied into the initial campaign arc - Not sure yet but possibilities include - Kyng Mob (Obidiah), The Bone Street Rumblers, The Notable Members. (Further factions can be published either as small supplements or through BIO - each one will be categorised as Law, Rogues or Club though so any existing character can be played with the new faction background.

So there it was, my first three factions; The Law, The Rogues and the Club. Now I had to fill them with characters...

The Characters

This was to be one of the key elements of Bedlum. As it was going to be an Alternative Armies game with as little new sculpting/casting overheads as possible I went through pretty much every image of their existing catalogue both Flintlloque, Fantasy, Erin and Typhon ranges and chose miniatures I thought had a shed load of character. I avoided using the main Flintloque personalities as they could/would be showing up in scenarios and/or as ‘Dramatis Personae’ like characters (a term from GW’s Mordheim) and could to be added onto people’s forces, or fought over/for as objectives. This didn’t limit me much though, as so many of Alternative Armies’ figures have so much character sculpted into them, the background practically write themselves.

I’ve decided to start by showing you what I had planned for the Rogues as I always had a preference for Obidiah’s Deserter Band back in the day and these were the first faction I had fleshed out, even going so far as ordering the miniatures. What I needed for each Faction was a core of personalities so I looked through the vaults until I found an image of a miniature full of character and then, in most cases gave them a name (if they didn’t have one already) and wrote a few lines of text giving me an idea of what I thought the could be within the faction. Each faction also got an initial gobbet of text.

So, without further ado, is the barebones background of the first Faction we’ll be following in 2019, here are The Rogues of Londinium.

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The Rogues

londinium the rogues

Even before the Mordredian Wars ended, Londinium was teeming with what respectable folk would call ne’er-do-wells. What was once the city of Dresda, housing a few thousand Orcs, had become the sprawling mass of Londinium housing hundreds of thousands of a myriad of races. As families became desperate and the boundary between rich aristocrats and the common people grew ever larger, crime spread throughout the streets. It took no time at all for the stronger, faster and cleverer of these miscreants to rise to the top, their followers forming into gangs. Some groups stole to survive, other stole for fun, others found things much more enterprising than mere theft to interest them...

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“The Colonel”

the rogues the colonel

Very clever chap. Possibly Royal links. Professor before the war. All lies perhaps, a street kid made good?

Check out the Alternative Armies page featuring him here.

The Colonel also got an expanded background story, every character was to have one of these along with a scenario setting up who they were and featuring the special rules they brought to the game.

The Ogre picked the brandy bottle up from the floor and finished off the last of it. It was a damned fine brandy. As the last swallow went down he wondered how long it was now, two months, no, three. Three months since he’d returned from the war in Urop. Three months since he was lauded as a hero. Londinium was the place everyone thought he should be, so to Londinium he came. The first month had been amazing - parties, dinners, dances. Everyone had loved him and retold his stories of gallant actions on the field of battle. The second month was harder, the fame was running out, no longer was he the ‘new thing’ being talked about in the clubs and amongst the socialites. The whispers said that some thought he should return to the war, to rejoin his regiment. Of course, he couldn’t do that. What survived of the regiment was no more his than the stolen uniform he wore when gadding about town. The third month was the hardest yet, the money was growing as scarce as the fame had. He wasn’t inherently evil for his choices, he knew that, circumstances had led him down this path. Although some would probably refute that, more than a few if he was honest. He looked from the empty bottle in his large hands to the awkwardly angled still form of the Todoroni that lay on the cobbles in front of him and smiled. “Colonel” the Todoroni had called him before attacking him. “Colonel”, yes, he liked the sound of that, he liked that a lot. Circumstance had indeed led him to this point and he knew it was to be the point at which everything changed.

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“Cutter”

the rogues cutter

 

Joccian Rat

"Oh aye, I ken wee cutter. No Joccian came back from the war as messed as he. He was caught and held prisoner by those damned Todoroni. The things they did changed him, after months of torture the likes of which you would'nae believe he managed to get hold of a knife that belonged to a guard. He's still got that knife so I hear." (This was actually the first character background snippet I wrote for Bedlum)

I have the original image I downloaded back in the day biut cannot find thids mini on the AA pages at the mo, I'll update when I find him again.

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“Dorothy”

the rogues dorothy

Ferach Elf - Dorothy. Street girl with a secret. Fascinated with Cutter perhaps? Share a love of knives.

Check out the Alternative Armies page featuring her here.

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“Tog”

the rogues tog

Orc - Munitions could explain leg. Ex sailor perhaps. He is missing left eye and leg...

Check out the Alternative Armies page featuring him here.

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“Ricardo”

the rogues ricardo

Todoroni - Alcoholic. Doing it for the cash? Loves causes a ruckus. Does toad of toad hall have any relatives? He could be the disreputable one.

Check out the Alternative Armies page featuring him here.

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“Lav”

the rogues lav

Half Elf / Half Orc - Poacher. Unknown mixed parentage. Possibly linked to old Ferach court...

I have the original image I downloaded back in the day biut cannot find this mini on the AA pages at the mo, I'll update when I find him again.

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I hope you enjoyed this first article and will join me for the rest of the journey. Let’s make Flintloque great again (even if only for me ;) )

Craig Andrews
December 2018

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Webmaster's Notes

"Londinium: An Introduction to My Flintloque Campaign" was written over the best part of a decade and was exclusively published on Orcs in the Webbe on the 12th December 2018 as prt of its 2018 Advent Calendar.